Lannan Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities. This site is for our audio and video podcasts.
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on November 13, 2019.
Eve L. Ewing is a sociologist of education whose research is focused on racism, social inequality, and urban policy, and the impact of these forces on American public schools and the lives of young people. She is an assistant professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her book Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side explores the relationship between the closing of public schools and the structural history of race and racism in Chicago’s Bronzeville community. Her work has been published in many venues, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and the Washington Post.
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 30, 2019.
Deborah Levy, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast on the BBC, and translated widely across the world. The author of highly praised novels, including Hot Milk and Swimming Home (both Man Booker Prize finalists), The Unloved, and Billy and Girl; the acclaimed story collection Black Vodka; and part one of her working autobiography, Things I Don’t Want to Know, she lives in London. Her latest novel, The Man Who Saw Everything, has been long-listed for the 2019 Booker Prize.
Recorded at the Lannan Meeting House in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 13, 2019.
Natalie Scenters-Zapico is from the sister cities of El Paso, Texas, USA, and Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, México. Her first book, The Verging Cities (Center for Literary Publishing 2015), won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, NACCS Foco Book Prize, and the Utah Book Award. Lima :: Limón, her second poetry collection, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2019.
Scenters-Zapico’s poems have appeared in a wide range of anthologies and literary magazines including Best American Poetry 2015, POETRY, Tin House, Kenyon Review, and more. She is a recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry, a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and a CantoMundo fellowship. Scenters-Zapico is poet in residence at the University of Puget Sound.
This was a Poetry Sunday event.
In this episode, Natalie Scenters-Zapico was introduced by Michael Wiegers, read from her work, then answered questions from the audience.
You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website; you may also watch the video of this event there.
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 25, 2019.
Vijay Prashad is a Marxist historian and journalist. He is the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, a movement-driven research institution based in Argentina, Brazil, India, and South Africa. He is also chief editor of LeftWord Books, a 20-year-old Marxist publishing house based in New Delhi. Additionally, Prashad is the chief correspondent for Globetrotter and writes a regular column for Frontline (India) and BirGün (Turkey). He has written 25 books, including The Darker Nations: A Peoples History of the Third World and The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, and has appeared in two films: Shadow World and Two Meetings. For 25 years, he was a professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
This was a Readings and Conversations event.
In this episode, Vijay Prashad talked about his work, then joined in conversation with Melanie K. Yazzie.
You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website; you may also watch the video recordings of this event there. Photos from this event are available on Flickr.
Boots Riley is a provocative and prolific poet, rapper, songwriter, producer, screenwriter, director, community organizer, and public speaker. He is the lead vocalist of The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club. His directorial debut, the comedy-fantasy-sci-fi film Sorry to Bother You, premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Fervently dedicated to social change, Riley was deeply involved with the Occupy Oakland movement and was one of the leaders of the activist group the Young Comrades. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Tell Homeland Security—We Are the Bomb.
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 11, 2019.
This was a Readings and Conversations event.
In this episode, Boots Riley joined Robin D. G. Kelley in conversation.
You may learn more about this event on the Lannan website; you may also listen to the audio recording of this event there. Photos from this event are available on Flickr.
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on May 1, 2019.
Sebastian Barry is a novelist, poet, and playwright. His latest book, Days without End (2016), tells the story of Thomas McNulty, a 17-year-old fleeing the Great Famine in Ireland by enlisting in the U.S. Army in the 1850s. He is sent to fight Sioux and Yurok Indians and, ultimately, fights in the Civil War. The central love story of the novel is between two men and was inspired by Barry’s son’s homosexual relationship. Of his son’s relationship, Barry states, “I look at them and I think, ‘This is not something that needs our tolerance, this is something we should be emulating. There is magnificence here of soul.'”
The New York Times calls Days without End “a dreamlike Western with a different kind of hero.” He is “an orphan, a refugee from Ireland’s Great Famine, a crack shot, a cross-dresser and a halfhearted soldier, but mostly he’s in love with a young man.” In the novel Barry writes, “A man’s memory might have only a hundred clear days in it and he has lived thousands. Can’t do much about that. We have our store of days and we spend them like forgetful drunkards.” Days without End won the 2017 Costa Book of the Year Award, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the Independent Bookseller’s Award.
Barry’s plays include The Steward of Christendom (1995), Our Lady of Sligo (1998), and The Pride of Parnell Street (2007). His novels include A Long Long Way (2005); The Secret Scripture (2008), named Novel of the Year by the Irish Book Awards and Costa Book of the Year; and The Temporary Gentleman (2014). He has won, among other awards, the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Prize, the Independent Booksellers Prize, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. A Long Long Way and the top-10 best seller The Secret Scripture were short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. He was born in Dublin in 1955 and lives in County Wicklow, Ireland.
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on April 17, 2019.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore is director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics and a professor of geography at the City University of New York. She is most famous for arguing that the movement for abolition, with its proud history of challenging slavery, should be applied today to the abolition of prisons. In an era when 2.3 million people are behind bars in the United States, she challenges us to think about whether it is ever necessary or productive to lock people in cages.
She warns of the “nightmare made palatable by the terrifying numbers of prisoners and prisons produced by the last generation, while we were all, presumably, awake.” But her hope lies in the fact that “just as real was the growing grassroots activism against the expanded use of criminalization and cages as a catchall solution to social problems. In order to realize their dreams of justice in individual cases, the [freedom] riders decided, through struggle, debate, failure, and renewal, that they must seek general freedom for all from a system in which punishment has become as industrialized as making cars, clothes, or missiles, or growing cotton.”
Gilmore wrote Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (2007) and contributed to The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (2007). The American Sociological Society honored Gilmore with its Angela Davis Award for Public Scholarship in 2012. A tireless activist, she has cofounded many social justice organizations, including the California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network.
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 27, 2019.
Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Krik? Krak!, a collection of short stories that encompass both the cruelties and the high ideals of Haitian life. Danticat’s 2004 novel The Dew Breaker spins a series of related stories around a shadowy central figure, a Haitian immigrant to the United States who reveals to his artist daughter that he is not, as she believes, a prison escapee but a former prison guard and skilled torturer.
When asked about being a role model for Haitians, Danticat replied, “There are millions and millions of Haitian voices. Mine is only one. My greatest hope is that mine becomes one voice in a giant chorus that is trying to understand and express artistically what it’s like to be a Haitian immigrant in the United States.” Danticat was born in Haiti and moved to the United States when she was 12. She currently lives in Miami with her family. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2009.
She has received much praise and recognition for her story collections and novels, beginning in 1994 with Breath, Eyes, Memory (an Oprah’s Book Club selection) and continuing through to The Dew Breaker. In that book, her lyrical writing explores equally atrocities and kindnesses, as it moves between the modern United States and the Haiti of memory, quietly and deftly revealing the horrors of the past in prose that is liquid and arresting. Paule Marshall has said of Danticat, “A silenced Haiti has once again found its literary voice.”
Danticat is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States (2003), The Beacon Best of 2000: Great Writing by Men and Women of All Colors and Cultures, Haiti Noir (2010), Haiti Noir 2 (2014), and Best American Essays 2011. Her memoir Brother, I’m Dying was a 2007 finalist for the National Book Award and a 2008 winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography.
Her most recent book is The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story (2017). The New York Times said, “This book is a kind of prayer for her mother—an act of mourning and remembrance, a purposeful act of grieving… Danticat writes beautifully about fellow writers, dissecting their magic and technique with a reader’s passion and a craftsman’s appraising eye… As a grieving daughter, she wants to understand how others have grappled with this essential fact of human existence; and as a writer—a ‘sentence-maker,’ in the words of a DeLillo character she wants to learn how to use language to try to express the inexpressible, to use her art to mourn.”
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on March 13, 2019.
Dahr Jamail is an award-winning author and journalist. In 2003 he was one of very few unembedded journalists in the early stages of the Iraq War. He has written for Le Monde Diplomatique, the Guardian, the Nation, the Huffington Post, the Sunday Herald in Scotland, and Foreign Policy in Focus, and has contributed to Democracy Now!, Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera English, the BBC, NPR, and numerous other radio and television stations around the globe. In 2008 he was awarded the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, and in 2018 the Part Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College awarded him an Izzy for his “path-breaking and in-depth reporting,” work that exposed “environmental hazards and militarism.” He is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (2007), The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (2009), and The Mass Destruction of Iraq: The Disintegration of a Nation: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible (2014).
Jamail is now a senior investigative journalist for Truthout.org. There he reports on climate disruption in the Anthropocene, digesting the most cutting-edge scientific evidence for a socially conscious and activist lay audience. His new book The End of Ice (The New Press, 2018) looks at the effects of climate disruption as he witnessed them firsthand as a young mountain guide on Denali. He writes, “On the one hand, the experience of being on ice that is thousands of years old and often hundreds if not thousands of feet thick is humbling. The accompanying awe of this reality, coupled with the sheer beauty of these landscapes carved by and now covered with glaciers is not to be missed… [but] witnessing these dramatic impacts from anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) first-hand always feels like a gut punch to me. My climbing partners and I shook our heads at the spectacle, then carried on to the edge of the glacier in order to unrope and ascend the moraine.”
Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on February 27, 2019.
Richard Powers is the author of 12 novels. These works employ multiple narrative frames to explore connections among disciplines as disparate as photography, artificial intelligence, musical composition, genomics, game theory, virtual reality, race, business, and ecology. He has said, “Science is not about control. It is about cultivating a perpetual condition of wonder in the face of something that forever grows one step richer and subtler than our latest theory about it. It is about reverence, not mastery.”
His novels include Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance (1985), inspired by German photographer August Sander’s 1914 image of the same title; The Gold Bug Variations (1991), a double love story of two young couples separated by a distance of 25 years; and The Echo Maker (2007), whose main character, Mark, suffers a traumatic brain injury in a car accident and becomes convinced that the woman who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister Karin is actually an imposter.
His most recent book, The Overstory (2018), is a tale of activism and resistance, about the secret language of trees and the people they bring together to save the last few remaining acres of virgin forest. In the New York Times Book Review, author Barbara Kingsolver called it “monumental… The Overstory accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of the story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size… A gigantic fable of genuine truths.”
His fiction and speculative essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Grand Street, the New York Times, Conjunctions, Granta, the Guardian, Common Knowledge, Wired, Tin House, Zoetrope, Paris Review, the Believer, Best American Short Stories, and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His work has been translated into 16 languages. In 2010 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Powers’ books have won numerous honors, including the Rosenthal and Vursell Awards, the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians, the Corrington Award, a PEN/Hemingway Special Citation, the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, and two Pushcart Prizes. The Gold Bug Variations was named Time magazine’s Book of the Year. Powers is a MacArthur Fellow, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of a Lannan Literary Award. He won the W. H. Smith Literary Award (UK) for best novel of 2003 and the Ambassador Book Award from the English-Speaking Union in 2004. The Echo Maker won the 2006 National Book Award. In 2014 Powers was among the first Americans long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.